January 26, 2021
Melinda Head

Shelter to Sanctuary

President Biden with his Dog

Welcome to the White House, Mr. President. When we welcome the Bidens, we also welcome our new “First Dogs”, Champ and Major.

We think it’s pretty cool that Major comes from the Delaware Humane Society. I hear that they held their own “Indoguration” ceremony on January 17th, beating you, President Biden, to the punch. Just as Kamala Harris is breaking important “first” records, Major is an additional “first”: he is the first dog from a shelter ever to live at the White House – talk about a rags to riches story!!!

I’m certain that Major’s journey will raise the profile of animal shelters and, hopefully, encourage other loving people to adopt animals and/or to make donations to animal shelters so that the lives of abandoned pets will be better. Major’s Indoguration raised $200,000 alone.

Jill Biden With Dogs
Jill Biden with Champ and Major

Mr. Champ and Mr. Major, I have important news for you. It appears that you will soon be tormented by a cat, as President Biden promised one to his wife, Jill, if he won the election.

“The Cat Came Back”

Check out the 1988 Oscar-nominated animated film, “The Cat Came Back”. It’s hilarious.

Despite all the talk of cats and dogs being enemies, they can become the best of friends. This is more easily achieved with certain breeds of dogs. Basset Hounds can be a great option. They are loyal, patient, and have a mild-mannered outlook on life, which makes them tolerant, if not friendly, of other animals. Another potentially great cat friend is the Golden Retriever. This breed is adaptable and outgoing in nature, making Retrievers a potentially great cat companion. There are many other breeds on the list, but, unfortunately for Major, German Shepherd’s aren’t usually on the list of cat-friendly dogs. However, with a good dog/cat strategy, lots of patience and some commitment, cats and German Shepherds can become friends.

Let’s be honest: if Biden can figure out how to play nice in Politics, he can probably figure out how to get his pets to cooperate and live in harmony.

There is a long history of pets moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and many pictures of Presidents and their families frolicking in the pleasure of pet ownership. President Biden got so carried away with his dog that he broke his foot while playing outside with this beautiful specimen of a German Shepherd. Like the Trump presidency, there have also been insurrections among pets, with some being sent back to where they came from, and others cast to far away ranches.

President Biden in an air cast
President Biden in an air cast after playing with his dog, Major (Image from People)

Dogs, cats ... even a pony has lived at the White House. Did you know that rabbits, hamsters, birds (including a Parakeet suitably called “Gabby”), roosters, cows, sheep and a raccoon lived hand-in-hand with Presidential families.

Grace Coolidge With Pet Raccoon Rebecca
First Lady Grace Coolidge's raccoon, Rebecca

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his traveling companion
Franklin D. Roosevelt and his traveling companion

John F. Kennedy and the family pony, Macaroni
John F. Kennedy and the family pony, Macaroni

George Bush and Millie with her new babies
George Bush and Millie with her new babies

John F. Kennedy had a family pony at the White House named Macaroni. That might just be my favorite pet name of all time.

Many celebrities use food names for their pets. Adam Sandler’s dogs are Meatball and Matzoball. Kelly Osborne named her dog Noodles. Kim Kardashian went Japanese and named her dogs Sushi and Saki.

Lyndon B. Johnson suffered the worst possible tragedy when his Beagle (“Him”, the brother of “Her”) was hit by a car after chasing a squirrel on the grounds of the White House, and died right then and there.

Donald Trump had no pets during his Presidential tenure. He is the first President since James Polk in 1849 to be pet-less while in office. Trump claimed that he wouldn’t mind having a dog, but had no time for one and was apparently concerned about how he would look walking a dog on the White House lawn.

Champ and Major, there will be plenty of vacuum cleaners at the White House to suck up your fur.

The lawns are expansive and well suited to regular exercise. What more could you wish for? We salute you and welcome you to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And, reciprocally, we encourage you to welcome the soon-to-be “First Cat” to the White House.

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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